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Reaching Out: How VR For Elderly People Can Help Combat Problems in Seniors and Keep Them Connected to The World

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Reaching Out: How VR For Elderly People Can Help Combat Problems in Seniors and Keep Them Connected to The World

old man looking out window of dark roomWhen you think of your grandparents, “tech-savvy” is probably not the first adjective that comes to mind. But whether your seniors are versed in tech or don’t know an Android phone from C-3PO, seniors and technology can be a match made in heaven if you know how to acquaint them with the basics. Today, we’ll be looking at some of the ways emerging VR tech can keep them in touch with the outside world.

What’s at Stake

It’s been shown time and again that seniors need to stay social and involved in the outside world if they want to thrive in their twilight years. Acquainting seniors and technology for use in their social lives can stop or mitigate some terrible effects down the line: without social interaction, elders are more vulnerable to depression, heart disease, and cognitive decline, among other maladies.

How VR Can Help

VR is short for “virtual reality,” and while it might seem like the stuff of sci-fi movies it’s been making steady inroads towards the American mainstream for a few years now. VR for elderly citizens has some pretty exciting possibilities: imagine being able to share a living room with your grandkids from hundreds of miles away, or even bring seniors and technology together for a virtual reality tour of a moment from their past! By stimulating their minds by allowing them to learn something new and intuitive, and giving them an opportunity to connect socially in a way that might not otherwise be available to them, it’s easy to see why many are excited about the way this tech might transform elderly lives.

elderly hands using smartphone

Who Should Use VR?

There are a few factors that can best determine if your seniors and technology like VR can coexist happily:

  • Technical Aptitude: if your grandparents are already more adept than most their age when it comes to figuring out their smartphones and computer settings, a VR headset could be the perfect next step for them.
  • Social Interaction: As mentioned, isolation and a lack of socializing can have negative effects on the health of seniors, so if they’re feeling lonely and want to try something besides phone chats and Zoom calls, VR could be an excellent choice.
  • Open Minded Elders: VR for elderly people can be a lot easier to manage if the seniors and technology in question have a history of being open-minded, so if your elders are known to love trying new things, the magic of virtual reality might work wonders for them!

Who Shouldn’t Use VR?

Just as some types of seniors will gel with VR more easily than others, there are also some warning signs that you might want to hold off on experimenting with VR on your elders.

  • Poorly Coordinated or Prone to Motion Sickness: “VR Sickness” is a common enough occurrence that it has its own name, so if your elders have a history of being uncoordinated or having their stomachs easily upset, your seniors and technology of this sort may not mix.
  • Alzheimer’s or Dementia: if your elders have been experiencing a decline in their mental faculties, they shouldn’t be trying to set up or operate a VR headset by themselves (though they may be able to get along fine with one if a helper is around).
  • Prone to Frustration: there doesn’t need to be an out-and-out mental or physical problem with them to not like VR: if your seniors and technology mix like oil and water and they find the experience too aggravating to go on with, it may not be worth the trouble.

Get Everything You Need with 1Heart Caregiver Services

Whether you’re a technophile or an outright Luddite, 1Heart can provide you with the resources and the expertise you need for you and your elders to live the happiest lives you can. Our helpers are no strangers to helping seniors and technology get along better with each other, and if VR for your elderly parents or grandparents seems to be the right choice we’ll be sure to give you our honest opinions.

Leave a comment if you have a story about helping your seniors adapt to 21st-century technology, or contact us now if you want to hire one of our caregivers. Bring the new and the old together in harmony with the help of 1Heart Caregiver Services today.

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